The Lions big play

DANIEL WILSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Football, like all sports, is a game of highs and lows where one play can completely change the complexion of a game.

Lions' defensive back Phillips' interception, returned for a 92-yard touchdown last Friday against Montreal at B.C. Place, did just that.

It was a psychological dagger thrust into the heart of the surging Alouettes in the third quarter.

"They were driving the ball downfield, maybe they were feeling confident, whatever the case may be, but it was just time for a big play," said Phillips, conceding that it was the biggest play of his three year CFL career. "It was just time for a big play and I was happy to be able to make it."

At the time of Phillips' interception, Montreal was marching down field and threatening to close in on a 22-7 deficit.

When Phillips snatched the ball, the game was taken out of Montreal's hands.

"It kind of broke their back," said Lions safety Barron Miles. "They had a drive put together on broken plays, but at the same time, they were marching and that play nullified a momentum swing.

An 11-year CFL veteran, Miles knows all too well what kind of havoc big momentum shifts play in players' heads.

"[The Alouettes] were going in to score and we ended up with the ball and we scored. That puts your heads down, especially when you're on a roll."

SFU psychologist David Cox says that in sports, momentum shifts are crucial, whether they are caused by a great play or missed play.

"When you're working with a team, one of the things you're trying to do is prevent those shifts or decrease the downward shifts in momentum," said Cox. "If your team is experiencing a shift or decrease in momentum, then you want to figure out how to change it."

The interception certainly made quarterback Jarious Jackson's job easier, allowing the offence some breathing room.

"I think it kind of popped their balloon, so to speak, because had they come back and scored on that particular drive, I think we would have had ourselves another ball game," said Jackson. "For Ryan to get that pick and go down and score, it definitely gave us the momentum we were looking for offensively."

Miles believes the play will even affect how Montreal approaches the team's rematch Sunday.

"I think [Montreal's] attitude has changed," said Miles. "They'll make some little adjustments, but for the most part, I think they'll just put the ball where they need to put it and tell guys, 'Hey, you're going to need to make a play just like their team made a play'."

And that is thanks for Phillips' one big play.


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